This route approaches Buzzard Peak from the south. The route begins on the Appalachian Trail (AT), but soon deviates from the AT in order to follow a pleasant stream and explore an interesting rock formation along the way.
Using the driving directions from the east as given on the main page, just continue driving on Old Forge Road about 0.4 miles past the AT crossing. The Old Forge picnic area will be on the left, with ample free parking. Park here and walk roughly southeast toward the woods across the remains of a baseball field.
From the Old Forge picnic area, look for this small building. The AT is behind it. Head north (left) on the AT.
Cross Rattlesnake Road in about 0.2 miles. Continue on the AT and cross Old Forge Road in about 0.4 more miles.
Continue north on the AT. Within a quarter-mile from Old Forge Road there is a junction with the blue-blazed Tumbling Run trail. Leave the AT here. Take the Tumbling Run trail and hike alongside the pleasant stream.
When a lengthy footbridge over Tumbling Run is obvious, leave the trail and cross the stream.
Soon you'll encounter a sign for “CLIMBING ROCKS.”
This geological feature is called "Monument Rock" on USGS maps, and apparently some people call it “Shaffer Rocks.” Follow the trail or simply head up and to the right, and soon this impressive formation will be obvious on the left.
Scramble around the base and approach the summit from the back for an easy walk-up.
Obviously, more challenging climbing is available for those who desire it. (See the link to climbing information below.)
The high point is non-technical, and the summit area is a pleasant spot.
From Monument Rock, return to the footbridge, re-cross it, then continue north on the Tumbling Run trail. When the trail splits, turn right, the direction indicated by a “CHIMNEY ROCKS” sign.
Eventually cross the AT (1.5 miles from where you left it) and continue on a blue-blazed trail toward the summit of Buzzard Peak.